The Red File

The telephone ringing broke Douglas Scarrow’s attention from yet another report about a suspected foreign agent up to no good

“Come to my office now would you Scarrow”

Colonel Marshall’s conversation was as abrupt as they normally were when he summoned you upstairs. Scarrow put the file he had been working on away and made his way to the stairs

His knock on the Colonel’s office door was answered with a firm ‘Come In’ and he entred the room. Scarrow stood waiting for Marshall to look up from his papers. This was the routine you were put through every time. Depending upon the severity of his mood or the consequences of the mistake you had made you could stand like this for up to a minute

‘Take a seat Scarrow and have a look at the report and photographs in this file’

Colonel Marshall filled his pipe as he spoke without making eye contact. He tidied up the papers he had been reading

‘The incident took place yesterday evening down at the Arsenal site and as you can see from the photographs it is not your usual encounter’

Scarrow examined the close ups of the guards body, photographed where it had been found

‘Has the head been located Sir?’

Marshall ignored the question. He struck a match, lit his pipe and walked to the window

‘There have been a lot of strange incidents both in and around the site over the past two months. There have also been some unexplained incidents in the surrounding area. A number of houses have had their gardens collapse into huge holes that have just occurred overnight. Got the locals in a bit of a stir and now the rumour mill has started

He sat back down and looked at Scarrow for the first time

“With the sensitivity of the Arsenal site and the actions of the German Chancellor we cannot afford to let this latest incident get out to the public Scarrow. I want this investigated and drawn to a swift conclusion, do you understand?’

‘Yes Sir. Perfectly clear Sir’

Scarrow closed the file and placed it back onto the desk. The images of the guards body had shaken him as he had never seen such injuries inflicted upon a person before.

‘Because of the nature of this latest event the powers that be have deemed it necessary to bring in a so called expert on these matters’

The Colonel handed over another file. It was thicker than the previous one and red in colour which meant only one thing

‘A Red File Sir?’

‘Yes Scarrow a Red File’

He rose and went over to the window once again.

‘But a Red File Sir. That means Unit Six and Captain Pye. I, I thought he was…’

‘I do not give a damn about what you think man I just want you to do as you are told’

This level of anger was unusual even for the Colonel

‘Take the file across the hall to the room where the Sergeant is waiting for you. He will let you in and I want you to familiarise yourself with its contents. The files is strictly ‘Eyes Only’ and you have two hours before I want you to report to the Arsenal site where Pye will meet you. You are to report to me by telephone or in person every day until this mess is done and dusted. That is all Scarrow’’

The room began to fill with the aroma of Marshall’s pipe as he relit it. Scarrow got up, saluted  and headed for the door

‘One last thing Scarrow. All of that Unit Six work that Pye was involved in. Does queer things to a man’s mind. It would be best if you sign out a sidearm and keep it with you at all times’

‘Yes Sir. Thank you Sir’

Scarrow closed the office door and acknowledged the salute of the Sergeant outside of his assigned room. He sat down at the small table and switched on the desk lamp

It was only at this point that he noticed just how much his hands were shaking